The ABES Chorus, Principal Miller and Music Teacher Para Perry at the EW!DC program. (Photo: Ron McBee)


By Meg Brinckman and Ron McBee

The National’s Screech charms old and young alike. (Photo: Meg Brinckman)

The success of 126 Amidon-Bowen students and their mentors was celebrated at an “Everybody Wins Power Lunch” in late May, highlighting the achievement of having read 1,476 books together.

Mary Salander, Executive Director of EW!DC, explained the benefits of the program, in which students give up recess and mentors make a weekly commitment to the importance and the pleasure of reading at these “power lunch” sessions.

Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation, recounted his 14 years as a mentor in the program and his pride that a student with whom he had mentored was now an employee at the Department of Transportation.

Amidon-Bowen Principal Izabela Miller spoke to the importance the school places in this program and the benefits she sees daily.  She emphasized the importance for students to continue their reading through the summer.

The event was held in the soaring West Atrium of the Department of Transportation Building.  Screens placed around the room flashed pictures of each student and their mentors,  who come from 19 government and private organizations.

Mentor Suzanne Immerman and Clarence Eggleston read to the “beat.” (Photo: Meg Brinckman)

The Amidon-Bowen Chorus, led by the effervescent Para Perry, provided the musical entertainment.  Mentor Suzanne Immerman and Clarence Eggleston, Grade 5, read Diary of a Wimpy Kid, using the technique of adding a “beat”. His classmates enthusiastically joined him.  Kalia Boulware, Grade 1, and her mentor, Tonya Kelly, read a poem, You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You, which exemplifies the spirit of the Power Lunch Program.

Many students who have participated in the Southwest Neighborhood Association’s “Computer for Kids” program recognized their instructor, LaShawn Williams, who is now on the Everybody Wins D.C. staff.  The ever popular “Screech” from the Washington Nationals entertained and interacted with the kids during the lunch of pizza and “Target decorated” cupcakes to everyone’s delight.

“The Graduates”

These Fifth Graders were recognized for completing the program:

  • Perrion Ballinger
  • Jerimiah Barbour
  • Shomari Edwards
  • Charles Eggleston
  • Trevon Evans
  • Robert Freeman
  • Kasmira Fudge
  • Daytonna Harris
  • Tyeashia Hines
  • Niya Holland
  • John Homes
  • Kevin Mack
  • Jomiah Matthews
  • Azaysha Mulkey
  • Jaida Murray
  • Vernon Smith
  • Matthew Thompson
  • Janiah Williams